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"Wealthy businessman survives attempt by wife to have him killed, makes it look like she succeeded and starts a new life in small town as auto mechanic. Variation on idea elevated to noir importance by The Killers (1946), where victim of femme fatale tries to abandon the city and his past identity." - noir expert Spencer Selby
This movie is part of the collection: Film Noir
Audio/Visual: sound, b&w
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: A wild ride!
Any older rich guy, marrying a beautiful young gal, had better watch this movie!!!
A wild exemplary movie of the genre. Starts out as your typical bland fare, then it takes a sinister turn for the worse.
If you're into film noir I'm sure you'll love this one!
Subject: Luck can be good and bad.
A very good, albeit old, plot. The second wife was a winner. The actors did a good job with an old script. The cab chase for Su Lin was very funny, one of the lighter moments of the movie. Over all very entertaining movie.
Madame X -
Subject: good movie
This movie was good from beginning to end- main characters not cliche, always surprising. Story has echoes of Postman Always Rings Twice plot. Costumes and mise-en-scene rich in detail if you are interested in small town life in U.S. in 1940's.
Subject: Loved It!
Thoroughly enjoyable noir film. As mentioned before, Brian Donlevy played the part perfectly and the love interest of Ella Raines was an excellent casting choice. One of those movies that will do you well for a great late night viewing experience. Make some popcorn, kick back and enjoy this feature!
John G Robinson -
Subject: It made an impact
An excellent little noir, which (in part) contrasts gritty urban culture with the apparent decency of small town America. The plot is pacey and carefully devised while the acting is often compelling.
Contextually, there are strong hints of a country which had just emerged from WW2 and is finding its feet again.
It's rather simplistic sometimes. Good against evil, small town wisdom set against the Goliath of what we laughingly call 'progress' - but all in all this film is a cracker.
This is a really enjoyable film that keeps ones interest. The plot at times seems a little hard to believe, the speed of reaching conclusions with very little evidence a little surprising but don't let that put you off. I could not help wondering if at any moment aliens were going to bounce onto the screen having seen Brian Donlevy (Walter Williams in the film) appear in so many old English Science Fiction B movies later in his career, his own life would make a good movie in itself, he was quite a character by all accounts. Feminist would love this film if only to attack the male chauvinism in the garage sequence when the love interest (Ella Raines) proves women, at that time in history anyway, were definitely incapable of anything more demanding that making cherry pie, someone her mother is expert in. Charles Coburn as Lt.Tom Quincy is absolutely brilliant except he can't seem to make up his mind if he's English, Irish or Scots. He starts off with a beautiful cultured English accent, which later changes to Scots and then to Irish which becomes more pronounced as the film progresses. The wife (Helen Walker) was most definitely a cracker who I'm sure most men would have gone gaga over but whether they would have been as obsessed as our hero, I doubt it. They are some wonderful shots of San Francisco, many of the places Fishermans Wharf, China Town and other sites are still there, so of interest for that alone if you lose interest in the film which I doubt.
Great movie, couldn't wait for the wife to finally get exposed for what she really was. I wonder if she gave her husband the nickname 'softy' because he had a impotence problem & couldn't perform in bed . Setting her on a path to murder.
Just a thought.
Subject: You get um Softy
I like this movie, the characters were either goody goody or just plain mean and evil. I felt sorry for "Softy". Boy it sure was easy to change your identity and get a job back in those days, lucky for him he knew how to fix cars.
Subject: This reminds me...
It may be trite to say that I kept thinking of "The Edge" (1997) with Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin and Elle MacPherson, while I watched Impact. But there were some parallels such as the matching wristwatches in the Edge and the matching embroidery in this gem. And I thought that Elle seemed to be cast to take scheming wife Helen Walker's role. They look similar enough. Some may say this is a man's film with the moral to choose your wife carefully, but I disagree. It is a timeless message for all, which also speaks to our ability to feel (our humanity) and to overcome. Four and a half from me.
Freddie Jaye -
Subject: Another Archive classic
"Impact" was, I thought, a bit slow for the first 30 minutes or so, but the story picked up then and just zipped along.
I agree with stef (the reviewer way below) who noted some Capra influences: the baby, the fire engine scene, and a few other interludes.
Having said that, though, the story is loaded with major and minor twists, and you don't get to the final resolution until the last few minutes. A great cast, with solid performances all around. And watch for Jason Robards *Senior* as the judge.
Dan L. -
Subject: A surprise little gem
Perhaps a little simplistic but full of twists, generally well acted and who could beat the price of FREE on archive.org. I'd say worth a watch. Some problems in the transfer with little cuts in the film , sound a little quiet and screen dirt but nothing that ruins it.
Subject: Betrayal - Disillusionment - Revenge - Redemption
NOTE FOR DOWNLOADERS: Thanks to Moongleam, a high-quality print with a much smaller file size (774 MB) is available here: http://www.archive.org/details/impact
A little-known gem which wasn't shot as a film noir yet has a film noir plot - up to a point when it becomes something entirely different. Captain of industry, Brian Donlevy, is meant to be killed by his faithless wife's lover, Only the lover is accidentally killed, and the conniving wife, excellently played by Helen Walker, is arrested for Donlevy's murder. Meanwhile Donlevy, intending to let his wife fry, slips away to Idaho where he meets homespun Ella Raines. Enter one of my favorite character actors, Charles Coburn, as a soon-to-be retired police gumshoe. Anna May Wong has a pivotal though minor role.
Fine performances all around, A-feature production values (dig that '49 Packard roadster) and crisp direction make this one a keeper which you'll probably watch more than once.
Take your meds, Jesusbuddy.
GOD knows how to expose truth. This movie proves that. Great educational and community-building movie. Be careful of who you marry. First get JESUS AND THEN MARRY ONE WITH JESUS or else!
Subject: Well worth a look
Better than I expected. Would love to see it remade.
Subject: Arthur Lubin, Director
Director credits from 1935 through 1981, from Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves to a slew of TV "Maverick" shows in 1960, to Phyllis Diller's TV sitcom in the late 70's. Celluloid greatness here!
Subject: Brian Donlevy & Top Cast Excellent in "Impact"
Excellent plot - well paced - good ending. The four stars, Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn, Helen Walker, and supporting cast do very well. This is a film well worth viewing. A rewarding, different role for Charles Coburn who handles the task of a police inspector very well. Brian Donlevy maintains a low key performance. Helen Walker and Ella Raines both do very, very well in their roles.
Dr Feel Rotten -
Subject: I'm speachless
..and that don't happen to often..
How did this one NOT become one of the all time great classics? What made this slip under the radar of the TV hacks who chop movies up into tiny bits and puke them back out? Oh..to long for TV.. they have to puke em up in an hour or less or the studio's explode..
I LOVE this movie..Everything about it screams GREAT CLASSIC MOVIE!
OK..so I caught my breath.. ;)
Brian Donlevy played his part absolutely perfect without flaw of any sort. It doesn't get any better. Now watch the sleaze machine merchants making the crap movies of today go and ruin it with a cheesy remake with the glamor boys of Hooeyweird.
The story takes a little while , then it crashes in....worth a watch.Some of it was pretty impressive...Some of it was just unbelivable, but hey thats entertainment, he he !(check out the way the lead carrys on, ..i dunno, frustrating or what ?).
ACT1 NowPlaying -
Subject: Wow - Excellent Movie *****
This may be one of my new favorites. Enjoyed it so much and plan to show it on my site at act1nowplaying.com
Subject: Interesting twists..
This one is entertaining to a point, but loses something at the end. Not bad just not terrific.
Subject: Very suspenseful, highly enjoyable
I've watched Impact several times over the years, the first time on one of those "movies til dawn" tv stations in southern California many decades ago, and always enjoy it. Ella Raines really makes this movie work, her character is great! And she was pretty damn good looking, too:
I highly recommend Impact, it's well worth downloading and watching and keeping.
Subject: Very Good Film
Ella Raines is beautifully photographed in her openings scenes, for my money, among the best in the film. The 1947 film contains elements of propaganda aiming to "normalize" gender roles and at the sense of dislocation of returning soldiers. The latter, especially, is atypically played down. These aspects of the film, which, otherwise, is a crime film and courtroom drama, are mostly to be noted at the protagonists arrival at Ms. Raines's garage.
Warhawk 40 -
Subject: Film Noir at it's best
This is the way movies used to be made. Crisp,tight plotting and an excellent story line. My reason for thinking so highly of it, however, is that I am old enough to remember an America as is portrayed in the film; an America which will never be seen again.
Subject: Smart Protagonist Makes Dumb Moves Keeping Drama Alive
***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***
Look, I love Brian Donlevy and the character actors conducting the investigation (whose names I'm too lazy to go look up at the moment), and I AM wild about the murder's set-up. But when Walter Williams elects to put his head between his legs and allow the wife he knows tried to kill him to inherit the fortune he's left behind so he can sulk in the middle of Nowhere, USA (sorry all you Idahoans) it's a little hard to take. Then, after he figures he'll leave and not go back on the idea that it would ruin the ex's being tried for murder, I'm thinking: "but she'll still be tried for ATTEMPTED murder." The he goes back anyway but tries the old amensia wheeze on them b/c a. wants to make his new love an accessory to lying to the police, and b. assumes the police are morons. But the final straw is when they arrest him and he doesn't fess up immediately (he's still got to be talked into it )and even when he does it appears that the state of california allows you to ATTEMPT to murder someone if they survive the attempt. So they arrest and prosecute HIM despite having heard the wife's bit about her love for Jim Torrence and the big fight with her husband over him for the first time ever right then and there (maybe Williams is right about cop I.Q.) It starts as crime noir, segues into Americana melodrama, before trying on a courtoom drama/tying up the clues in the nick of time ending. And we probably shouldn't discuss the portrayal of the Chinese-Americans here: I've seen worse, but I've certainly seen better. All in all: 3 Stars.
Albert Schlef -
Subject: A nice film
When I finished watching it I didn't feel I wasted my time.
Subject: Above average film noir.
I always like films with Brian Donlevy in them. This film is no exception. A good solid performance. Charles Coburn wasn't bad as the cop either. It's good to see a cop acting like a human now and then and still able to do his job.
Even Philip Ahn who has a very small part as the maid's uncle does a good job. His reply to Coburn's question, "You savvy English?" with "Yes. Also French, Italian, and Hebrew" was perfect.
This film is a keeper; you won't regret watching it.
Well worth one's time!
very good movie.the girl that plays martha the garage owner, i know i,ve seen in some other film.stunning.
a very good crime drama
Ella Greggs -
Subject: Sex, Lies and Monograms
Fun movie. Helen Walker is great as the scheming and duplicitious wife. The film gets more than a little far fetched toward the end, and our heroine is a bit too gosh-darn plucky for such an otherwise downbeat film. Nevertheless, a good story, well played and well paced. It is also a delight to see the great character actor Charles Coburn as gumshoe Quincy, doggedly pursuing the truth.
Great film. Some of the acting was stiff at first but I was completely sucked in by the middle. Just shows that there was actually talent in Hollywood before sleaze masters like Speilberg came to the US.
Lisa MW -
Subject: Worth the Time
This is a very good movie. It does not have a predictable ending.
B.B. Thrill -
Subject: impact - the twists, turns and effects we have on one anothers lives
A San Francisco industrial tycoon Walter Williams's wife, Irene Williams and her lover, Jim Torrance plot to murder Williams. On the road up the mountains the lover cracks Williams over the head and leaves him for dead, but during his getaway crashes the car and is burned beyond identification. Half-dazed, and confused, Williams stumbles into a truck that takes him miles and miles down the highway.
He finally ends up in a small town in Idaho, where he finds a place to stay, working as an auto mechanic for widowed gas station owner, Marsha Peters.
Everyone thinks the body in the car crash is Williams and his wife is eventually accused of conspiring to murder him. Williams knows of all of this from the newspaper clippings he is reading and saving, plotting his future and dreaming of revenge on his murderous wife.
The trouble with this is that Williams falls in love with Marsha Peters and is convinced by her to return to San Francisco to settle the business of his past.
From here Impact twists and turns - to tell you more would ruin the surprises and pleasures of watching the film. In true film noir style you are unsure what will be the outcome until the last moments of the film.
Certainly worth the time to view and even to view again.
Very good film!
As someone said on IMDB, there's Capra accents in this film noir.